I thank Robin Harper for his speech. I hope that what I say will meet some of the aspirations that he outlined in his closing comments.
The Executive is clearly committed to improving home energy efficiency and to tackling fuel poverty. As Robin Harper indicated, one of our key aims is to use the warm deal and the healthy homes initiative to achieve that.
I want to outline the measures that the Executive is undertaking, to give a fuller picture than Robin Harper gave. I also want to connect those measures to the wider housing initiatives in which we are engaging in the forthcoming period.
I stress the fact that the warm deal is the largest home insulation scheme ever in Scotland. It provides much-needed help for pensioners and other vulnerable households. Under the previous Conservative Administration, the budget for home energy efficiency in Scotland was about £5 million per year. It is important to recognise that the situation has changed substantially since the introduction of the new Scottish Executive.
The warm deal provides grants of up to £500 for loft insulation, cavity fill and tank and pipe insulation and energy advice to help families make the best use of their budgets. The previous Administration felt that the noble sum of £170 was enough.
The programme for government commits the Executive to providing 100,000 warm deal grants during this Parliament. We have already exceeded the target for this year of 25,000—31,000 houses have benefited from the grants. I am convinced
We are backing the warm deal with real increases in expenditure.